Translations of the Bible

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Only very few people can read the Bible in its original languages: Hebrew and Greek. Furthermore, the Latin translations that were generally used in the Middle Ages can only be used by an extremely limited number of people. Most people can only read the Bible in the form of a translation in their mother tongue. Editions of the Hebrew Scriptures in other languages than Hebrew have existed for a long time. They existed many centuries before Christ

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Translations of the Bible Only very few people can read the Bible in its original languages: Hebrew and Greek. Furthermore the Latin translations that were generally used in the Middle Ages can only be used by an extremely limited number of people. Most people can only read the Bible in the form of a translation in their mother tongue. Editions of the Hebrew Scriptures in other languages than Hebrew have existed for a long time. They existed many centuries before Christ. When the Jewish exile came to an end in 537 B.C.and the Jews could return to their own land many Jews stayed behind in the countries in the Middle East to which they had been moved. They stuck together and kept themselves separated from the peoples of their new countries. They formed separate Jewish communities that came together in their synagogues on the Sabbaths to read and discuss the Hebrew Scriptures. In the course of the centuries the Jews forgot the Hebrew language and started to speak the languages of the countries where they lived. By the 3rd century before Christ koine Greek had become the international language that was spoken and understood throughout the Middle East. Many Jews spoke and understood this kind of Greek far better than the Hebrew of their ancestors. Around 280 before Christ about 70 Jewish scholars came together in Alexandria Egypt to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. They produced the Septuaginta translation that is still very well-known today. In the days of Jesus this Septuaginta translation was so popular and generally used in Jesus own country and among his own disciples that almost every time when the Bible writers of the 1st century after Christ the authors of the Greek Scriptures quoted texts from the Hebrew Scriptures they used the phrasing of the Greek Septuaginta translation. Something similar occurred in the 2nd 3rd and 4th centuries after Christ. Koine Greek the international language was increasingly replaced by Latin the language of the greatest world power in those days. As more and more people in the immense territory of the Roman Empire became Christians there was an increasing demand for a Bible edition that people could read and understand. Between 390 and 405 after Christ the very educated Hieronymus accepted the challenge. He was well-versed in both Hebrew and Greek and was determined not to make a a translation based on existing translations. He translated directly from the original languages into the vulgates Latin of his days. Just like koine Greek is a simplified internationally accepted version of the classical Greek vulgates Latin is a simplified internationally

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accepted version of classical Latin. The translation by Hieronymus still generally known as the Latin Vulgate was the generally accepted and used text of the Scriptures in the Middle Ages for about a thousand years. From the time of the invention of the art of printing and the Reformation translations of the Scriptures were made all over Europe in all the various European languages - English German French Dutch etc. These translations have played a tremendous part in European history culture and scholarship. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Churches in Europe and in America founded Bible societies that set out to translate the Bible into non-European languages and to spread the Bible on other continents. These Bible societies have been extremely successful. By the year 1900 the Bible had been translated into some 600 languages. About 1930 it was available in approximately 900 languages. By the end of the 20th century the Bible had been translated into over 2000 languages. These are famous Bible translations in English German French and Dutch with the years in which they appeared and the name they used to refer to God. Famous translations in English The King James Bible appeared in 1611 refers to God with Lord The Emphasized Bible appeared in 1902 refers to God with Yahweh The American Standard Version appeared in 1901 refers to God with Jehovah The New Jerusalem Bible appeared in 1985 refers to God with Yahweh Famous translations in German Luther appeared in 1534 refers to God with Herr Elberfelder appeared in 1872 refers to God with Jehova Einnheitsübersetzung appeared in 1974 refers to God with Herr and Jahwe Famous translations in French Crampon appeared in 1904 refers to God with Jehovah

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Jerusalem appeared in 1954 refers to God with Yahvé Osty appeared in 1973 refers to God with Yahvé Famous translations in Dutch Statenvertaling appeared in 1637 refers to God with Heere Petrus Canisiusvertaling appeared in 1939 refers to God with Jahweh NBG vertaling appeared in 1951 refers to God with Here Willibrordvertaling appeared in 1975 refers to God with Jahwe

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